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Thursday, October 3, 2013

New “Training Course” Virge for Guild Training Course Graduates

The new Training Course Virge
to be awarded in 2013 in Nashville

A new Training Course (TC) Virge will be awarded to those who complete the VGEC Training Course beginning with the class of 2013 during the 25th Anniversary Conference in Nashville. The new TC Virge will also available for purchase by those who completed the VGEC Training Course prior to 2013.

From concept to first award, the TC Virge has an established VGEC process of development, prototype evaluation and final design selection.  The guild’s “Basic Virge” went through 20 or so designs and three board meetings in 2011 prior to its final design approval, manufacture and introduction. The objectives for the first guild-produced virge were low price, simple design, and well-defined specifications which could be executed by any commercial wood working business. The guild felt that this path would encourage new vergers to obtain a quality virge more quickly and more economically than having to make one on their own. For those who had the wood working skills and access to machinery, a Virge Finial Kit was made available separately. Finally, the board expressly aimed to not compete with the many fine commercial virges available from our traditional liturgical suppliers.

In 2012 the VGEC Board started working on developing a distinctive new virge to be awarded to graduates of the VGEC Training Course. Scott Smith and Bill Gleason contacted Jeff and Kent Liddle of Liddle Creative Construction in Smyrna, TN after the previous virge craftsman said that he felt that he could no longer make the Training Course Virge for the guild. The Liddle brothers reputation for creativity in wood working is well established by their elegant cabinetry found in scores of up-scale homes in the greater Nashville area. You can also find their excellent work in the initial remodel of the sacristry, and the current upgrade of the vesting room at Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville.

Jeff made up several design examples for board consideration. Bill Gleason recalls that, upon receiving the examples, “We dropped our jaws when we saw and handled the spiral virge prototype. I love the spiraling down as it drops through the hand.”  The board approved the new spiral design during the 2012 VGEC Conference in Lakeland, Florida and Liddle worked on three variations on the spiral theme with incremental improvements. The new finial, a good looking double-sided VEGC seal, tops the spiral-turned mahogany 37-inch long staff. The length of the finished virge is 39 inches.

The VGEC would also like to express gratitude to the Rev. Ernest Saik who over the past thirteen years designed, hewed, built, and shipped the original TC Virges to the the Guild each year. He made over 250 virges for the VGEC since the first virges were awarded in 1999 at the 10th Annual VGEC Conference in Jackson, Mississippi. These were awarded to the first recipients: Dianne Betts, Toby Griffen, and James Boyd, MD.

The new TC Virge, priced at $175.00,  will be manufactured once yearly to supply the VGEC Training Course graduates for that year, plus a small number set aside for purchase by earlier TC Course graduates. Contact [email protected] for more information or visit shop.vergers.org.

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